I was driving down the freeway today and caught a very brief glimpse of a billboard that said in huge letters: Judgement Day Is May 21
Yes, indeed. It immediately brought to mind the fiasco that took place in 1988: 88 Reasons For 88. This was a book and tapes that came out declaring that Jesus Christ was going to return during one of 3 days during Rosh Hashanna in September of that year. It actually got it's foothold in the ministry I was working with at the time.
You see, I went to one of the leaders of that ministry's doors one day - don't remember why, I needed some information or something - and the wife of the leader answered. She had a tape in her hand. She said, "You have to listen to this!" What is it? I asked. It's a tape that proves that Christ is going to return in September!!
During this period of time where this ministry started propagating this nonsense, I took a definitive stand against this teaching and the panic it was causing within the Christian community. I was brought before the leaders of the group - from around the world actually - and after I continued to defy them and this declaration that Christ was, indeed, returning in 1988, I was condemned before this entire group. "In that case, we have determined you are not a Christian because you don't believe this" - or something to that effect. I don't remember the exact words, I DO remember that my salvation through my Lord Jesus Christ was not only questioned, but negated.
Fortunately for me, by that time in my Christian walk which was all of 3 years, I had spent CONSIDERABLE time studying the Word. I wasn't then or am not now claiming to be a biblical scholar, but I had dug and dug into the Word, had done all kinds of word studies in Greek and Hebrew and had come to my own conclusions that were not outside of most thinking in Christian circles.
There was only 1 other man that - in a much lessor way - defied them, but he did stand his ground as well. I informed them that the 3 days of Rosh Hashanna would come and go and we would still be here. I think I also asked them if they were going to apologize to me after it was all said and done and no-one was gone?
The stories came to light that Christians were giving away their homes, cars, bank accounts, everything because they fell for this stuff and believed that they were going home with the Lord, therefore, what need had of material things?
Of course, the 3 days came, passed and guess what? We were all still there. There were no reports of worldwide departures or of cataclysmic events.
And why, Ben, did you believe so adamantly then, as you do now, that these men and women were then and now are deceived?
It's simple, really: New Living Translation (©2007)
"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows."
Other versions say no man shall know the day or the hour. It's referring to the coming of Jesus Christ. Note that it says NO-ONE will know. It doesn't say some will and some won't. This is the scripture that came to my mind, immediately, when I was standing on the doorstep talking with the wife of that leader, who also fell for this junk.
I went to the website of these people and I heard scripture. Great, love it. I love the Word of God. I am not a perfect man and right now? I have many issues. But I don't hate God for the things that happened to me in my life neither do I blame him. In fact, I endeavor to not even hold things against the people that caused no small amount of pain and grief in my life, just because the Word also says that if you do not forgive those that have trespassed against you, your Father in heaven will not forgive your trespasses, either. That's scary stuff. You mean if I don't forgive someone for doing whatever - the whole realm of it - that I may not be forgiven?
I guess you have to do your own soul-searching and whether you believe the Bible is truth - all of it - or is just fictional stuff made up in the minds of men. I have lived the life and I firmly believe. I don't care what ANYONE else thinks, either. If I heard a bunch of scruff, I will openly oppose it. I have been thrown out of so-called churches because of the preaching of heresy that was allegedly based on the Bible but in reality had no footing in any truth that God teaches us through His word.
Back to the website. No way am I going to waste my time going through all of that. I listened to a video and read several pages of type and found nothing to identify where, exactly, they even came up with this date of theirs and what scriptures actually back them up. I've been there and I've done that in 1988, I don't need to waste my time with it. They did show other scriptures about knowing the hour and this and that, but none of it can supersede the statement: NO-ONE or NO MAN depending on what versions you are reading.
It's not that I don't want Christ to return, it's just that these people are deceived, period. They think they have figured something out and therefore, because their math or however they are coming to these conclusions are "infallible", it must be true. It's the minds of men that have made this up, that's the point I am at now. In reality, if you are Christian and you truly believe, then you should probably be fastidious and attempting to ensure that you are ready for His return at ANY time. Further, that regardless of whether He returns on any given date or not, one thing is certain: YOU - ARE - going to DIE some day and yes, you might want to give some credence to what happens to you after the day of your death.
If you choose not to believe that God exists, that does not, therefore, deny the reality that God does, indeed exist. We do that in our minds and our hearts: make things up and then believe them because there is nothing present to deny it. Great, but when you are standing before the Lord to give an accounting, I'm pretty sure that that isn't really going to help you, at all.
There is a lot of scripture in the Bible. You have to take it into context. One scripture talks about God confounding the wisdom of men. Why? Because He is God and we are not. As Moses so succinctly pointed out, we are but mere specks of dust. When a small group of people have "figured" something like this out? I would suggest you completely ignore it. The only thing I can say that might come of good out of it is if it causes people to search their souls and begin to wonder about the reality of God. BUT, having that propagated through fallacy is not good. Then what do those people think after the day comes and goes and nothing happens? Back to questioning God - and in many cases even His existence because mortals have made a mockery of Christianity.
I haven't visited the mainstream preachers to see their take on it. I don't need to. One thing that became increasingly clear during the early days of my walk with the Lord: I have to search out the scripture for myself. That doesn't mean I don't listen to men and women of God speaking forth the truths to be found in the Word, but when it comes to the basic, elemental things, I MUST be convinced through my own walk and search. If not, it will not be a lasting life in Christ, it will be a "fall by the wayside" inevitability.
If you are in fear of the day - May 21st, then do some soul searching. It isn't that day that I would be worried about, it is the fact that eventually - on some given day - your earthly existence IS going to end. No one is going to refute that. Well, mostly no-one. If you aren't sure of where you are going in the end, might I suggest you get a hold of the Holy Bible and start reading? Besides potentially finding Christ through the experience, there are some fascinating events that are told in it that I have loved to read over and over and over. Somehow, God can always show me something new in it that I didn't see the last time I read whatever it is that I am reading.
I end this with this: COULD the Lord be coming on that day? I am not sitting in heaven right now, next to the Lord, hearing whatever He might be saying. I certainly do not know His thoughts. His ways are FAR above our ways. We are so far below His "level" we cannot even fully comprehend it. He undoubtedly has a day set apart for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ - but exactly how that is going to happen is open to much speculation. That's because, besides what we read in the Bible, we don't actually know HOW the event will transpire. But I will say that just because some group of people are declaring "with certainty" a "guaranteed" truth, they proclaim, it undoubtedly will NOT happen that day just because of it.
When we mere mortals start "figuring out" God and how He will do a thing in our lives, I'm not talking about His return here, I'm talking about the things that God does do in our lives, the things we ask of Him for, He seems to find ways to do them that we never thought of. We think how it will be done, we talk about it, and then? He does a thing a different way. I have seen that hundreds of times throughout my walk with the Lord. I have stories that people don't believe. Which phases me not, neither does it make me anyone special, I only point to the Greatness and Goodness of the Lord our God.
Now, I must go. If I am preaching to anyone, I am preaching to myself. I have some repenting to do...........
Monday, May 9, 2011
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